Headlines UK

US and EU countries demand the release of Alexei Navalny

The oppositionist was detained immediately after returning to Russia

Politicians from the countries of the European Union and the United States, as well as representatives of human rights organizations, demanded the release of opposition leader Alexei Navalny from custody, Forbes reports. On January 17, he returned to Russia after a five-month stay in Germany, where he received treatment after being poisoned with a nerve agent from the Novichok group. The oppositionist was detained at passport control at Sheremetyevo airport.

The foreign ministers of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia in a joint statement called Navalny’s detention unacceptable and called on the EU to impose sanctions against Russia if he is not released. European Council President Charles Michel also condemned Navalny’s detention. “I call on the Russian authorities to release him immediately.”– he wrote on Twitter.

The head of the US Department of State Mike Pompeo also spoke out in defense of the opposition politician, Interfax reports. According to him, the detention is an attempt “To silence Navalny and other oppositionists”“The Russian people deserve a government that supports a diversity of ideas, an independent judiciary, and human rights to freedom of speech and assembly.”– wrote Pompeo. The international human rights organization Amnesty International recognized Navalny as a prisoner of conscience.

According to the Federal Penitentiary Service, Alexei Navalny has been on the wanted list since December 29, 2020 for multiple violations of the probationary period, during which he was in the case of embezzlement of Yves Rocher funds. He remains in custody, and the further measure of restraint will be determined by the court.


COVID-19: WHO regrets that ten countries concentrate 95% of vaccinations

Copenhagen | Europe must show more vaccine solidarity at a time when 95% of doses have been used in ten countries, asked the regional management of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday.

• Read also: All developments in the COVID-19 pandemic

• Read also: Quebec ready to wait up to 90 days for the 2nd dose

It is necessary that “all countries capable of contributing, giving and supporting equitable access and deployment of vaccines do so,” said WHO’s European director, Hans Kluge, during a press briefing. online, highlighting the “huge” efforts made by the organization and its partners to ensure that every country can get vaccines.

According to him, 95% of the COVID-19 vaccines administered worldwide have been in ten countries he did not name.

According to the data analysis site Our world in data, these are the United States, China, United Kingdom, Israel, United Arab Emirates, Italy, Russia , Germany, Spain and Canada.

• Read also: WHO meeting on variants, their experts investigate in China

In just over a month, some 28 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been injected in about 46 countries, WHO director of emergency health matters Michael Ryan said on Wednesday.

Despite the start of vaccination campaigns, the speed of transmission observed in some countries, in particular because of new, more contagious variants, in particular those called English and South African, is worrying.

“The situation is alarming”, reaffirmed Mr. Kluge.

Twenty-five countries in the European zone, including Russia, have recorded cases linked to this new strain “VOC 202012/01”.

“With increased transmissibility and similar disease severity, the variant is causing concern: without increased control to slow its spread, there will be an increased impact on healthcare facilities already under stress and under pressure,” he said. -he explains.

Among the 53 countries in the region, 31 have started their immunization campaign and countries benefiting from the Covax mechanism, which distributes COVID vaccines to underprivileged countries, are expected in early February.

For Mr. Kluge, it is important to remain optimistic.

“2021 will be another year of the coronavirus, but it will be a more predictable year, the situation will be easier to control”, he said


28 million doses of vaccines injected in 46 countries, according to WHO

In 36 days, some 28 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been injected in about 46 countries around the world, World Health Organization director of health emergencies Michael Ryan said on Wednesday.

Despite the start of vaccination campaigns, he was concerned about the speed of transmission observed in some countries, particularly because of new, more contagious variants.

• Read also: Residents and staff of CHSLDs vaccinated next week

• Read also: 10 million people have received an injection in the United States

• Read also: All the developments of the pandemic

“We are entering the second year (of the pandemic) and it could even get even harder, when you see the rates of transmission,” he said during one of the regular question and answer sessions that the WHO organizes for the general public.

As for the vaccination campaigns, he regretted that they are mainly done by rich countries. “I think we are at 28 million doses of vaccine administered so far. Five different vaccines or platforms were used, ”said Dr. Ryan.

“Approximately 46 countries are currently vaccinating, but there is only one low income,” said Michael Ryan, while 38 of these 46 are rich countries.

“There are populations who want and need vaccines and who are not going to receive them unless, and until, we share better,” he said, adding “everyone must do more”.

WHO and the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) set up the Covax mechanism to distribute COVID vaccines to underprivileged countries, but the system suffers from a beggar-thy-neighbor tendency of rich countries and a lack of funding.

WHO’s goal is to deliver doses for up to 20% of the population of Covax participating countries by the end of the year. The UN agency hopes to send the first vaccines in late January or February.

The pandemic, which broke out in China at the end of 2019, killed 1,964,557 people, according to a report established by AFP on Wednesday from official sources.

Entertainment UK

Madonna ‘visits 5 countries in 3 weeks’ for winter break amid Covid-19 pandemic

Madonna has reportedly been in five countries in just three weeks for her winter holiday amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The singer seemingly hasn’t let the worldwide pandemic slow her down as she jetted all around the globe.

It’s claimed the songstress, 62, jetted from Los Angeles to London with her boyfriend Ahlamalik Williams, 26, with four of her children – David Banda, Mercy James, twins Estere and Stella – on Christmas Eve.

In London, they picked up Madonna’s UK-based son Rocco, 20, whom she shares with Guy Ritchie.

The famous family then made the trip to Malawi via a stop over in Egypt on December 28.

They met President Lazarus Chakwera and the locals as well as taking a trip to the hospital Madonna founded and Jacaranda School for Orphans near Blantyre during their week in Malawi.

Four of her six children were adopted from Malawi.

The group touched down in Kenya on Wednesday where they have spent time with the Pokot Tribe in the Baringo Valley.

A source close said Madonna and her family have been taking regular Covid-19 tests, according to The Sun.

Madonna’s family were understood to have jetted around via private jet.

Also her personal photographer Ricardo Gomes was on hand to capture her magnificent breaks in Malawi and Kenya.

Madonna has been sharing a glorious slew of sun-soaked snaps from her holiday on Instagram with her 15.6million fans.

Travellers arriving in Egypt, Malawi and Kenya must present a negative Covid-19 test taken up to 72 hours before.

“High-value business travellers” didn’t have to quarantine in the UK “subject to specific criteria being met” in December.

The Mirror reached out to Madonna’s representative for further comment.


UAE-Qatar ties: Countries need to rebuild trust to solve issues, Gargash says

Anwar Gargash
Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: The UAE has ended its differences with Qatar but still there is a need to rebuild trust, Dr. Anwar Mohammed Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs said on Sunday.

“There are pending issues with Qatar that still need cooperation to be solved, however, the reopening of airspace to Qatar is a positive step to rebuild trust,” Gargash said.

He said the joint Gulf action has returned to its normal path.

On UAE’s relations with Turkey, Gargash said the UAE, the largest trade partner of Turkey in the Arab region, seeks to have normal ties with Ankara.

“Turkey’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood reflects negatively on its relations with Arab countries,” he said, adding Turkey needs to reconsider its relations with the Muslim Brotherhood.

“There is complete coordination between the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt with regards to the regional issues, and we support diplomatic solution to the Iranian dossier,” Gargash said.

He referred to threats to Saudi Arabia’s security and said: “Saudi Arabia’s security lies within the UAE’s security, and we cannot ignore missile attacks against the Kingdom.”

Gargash reiterated the UAE’s trust in the Saudi role in solving inter-differences.

“The UAE enhances its position as an attractive hub for development and adopts an approach for interfaith tolerance,” he said.

Headline USA

The countries that would lose 50 percent of their population in the coming years due to an unexpected global demographic decline | The State

The most recent statistic from The World Bank points out that today almost 7.6 billion people share this world. In general, the population growth trend has been on the rise for many decades; for example, in 1950 there were some 2,600 million people in the world according to the United Nations. But scientists have observed that that trend will reverse in the coming years.

In fact, some countries would lose 50 percent of their population in the coming years due to an unexpected global demographic decline.

Research by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington advances that In 40 years, the world population will reach a maximum of 9.7 billion people, but it will gradually decline to reach 8.8 billion by the year 2100..

The implications of this decline that will challenge historical population trends are many, from difficulties in keeping economies active until geopolitical and environmental changes. For example, by 2035, in just 14 years, experts anticipate that China will become the largest economy in the world, but after 2050 its population growth will decline to 51 percent less.

Research published in The Lancet predicts that some countries would lose up to half of their current population in the next 80 years, particularly Spain, Italy, Portugal, Japan and South Korea, which would imply important challenges in their economies, such as a reduction in the workforce and an increase in their pension system.

“Our findings suggest that continuing trends in female educational attainment and access to contraception will accelerate declines in fertility and slow population growth”, The authors write.

Why is it not so convenient to reduce the population?

Although a decline in world population could have “Positive implications for the environment, climate change and food production”, the effects on the economy can be “negative for the workforce, economic growth and social support systems in the parts of the world with the greatest fertility declines ”.

The IHME experts assure that the population reduction implies “economic, fiscal and geopolitical risks” that some nations are already anticipating. For example, “geopolitical power is also linked to military might and, for now at least, armies require individuals to serve in them”They write.

Parallel, the researchers suggest that countries with lower fertility rates have four options: “create an enabling environment for women to have children and pursue their careers; restrict access to reproductive health services; increase participation in the labor force, especially in older ages; and promote immigration ”.

That is why if nations like Canada, Australia and the United States manage to maintain “their long-term working-age population through migration, they would do well”.

“Policy options for Adapting to continued low fertility, while maintaining and improving female reproductive health, will be crucial for years to come”Conclude the authors of the research funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.


Headline USA

Pope Francis urges countries to strive for peace as he leads just 200 masked faithful

Pope Francis urges countries to strive for peace as he leads just 200 masked faithful at an early evening Covid-restricted ‘midnight’ mass in St Peter’s Basilica

  • Pope celebrated the mass in St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, on Christmas Eve 
  • Mostly employees of the state attended papal ceremony whilst wearing masks
  • Mass was held at 7.30pm instead of midnight to meet Italy’s curfew rules 

Pope Francis has led a smaller midnight mass than in previous years as he urged peace to masked believers. 

The spiritual leader of 1.3billion Catholics across the globe celebrated Christmas Eve mass in St Peter’s Basilica.

Fewer than 200 people, wearing face coverings, attended the mass, and they were mostly employees of the tiny state of Vatican City.

Christmas during the pandemic has started early as Pope Francis (pictured) leads midnight mass to masked followers

Fewer than 200 people, wearing face coverings, attended the mass, and they were mostly employees of the tiny state of Vatican City (pictured)

Fewer than 200 people, wearing face coverings, attended the mass, and they were mostly employees of the tiny state of Vatican City (pictured)

The mass, traditionally held at midnight, had been moved forward by two hours to 7.30pm to meet Italy’s curfew rules. 

During the message, he expressed his desire to visit crisis-hit Lebanon and urged political leaders in South Sudan to continue working for peace. 

Before the pandemic hit, several thousand believers and tourists had obtained precious tickets to attend the papal mass.

But on Christmas Eve, St Peter’s Square, which is usually filled with people, was deserted. 

Tough new coronavirus restrictions were imposed on Thursday over the Christmas and New Year period across Italy, the country hardest hit by the virus in Europe.

The country had nearly 71,000 deaths and more than two million cases since the beginning of the pandemic.  

The mass, traditionally held at midnight, had been moved forward by two hours to 7.30pm to meet Italy's curfew rules

The mass, traditionally held at midnight, had been moved forward by two hours to 7.30pm to meet Italy’s curfew rules

Pope Francis, who just celebrated his 84th birthday, will address his eighth Christmas message 'Urbi et orbi' ('to the city and the world') on Friday by video

Pope Francis, who just celebrated his 84th birthday, will address his eighth Christmas message ‘Urbi et orbi’ (‘to the city and the world’) on Friday by video

Pope Francis, who just celebrated his 84th birthday, will address his eighth Christmas message ‘Urbi et orbi’ (‘to the city and the world’) on Friday by video.

He will do it from the apostolic palace to prevent a crowd from gathering in St Peter’s Square.   

Christmas celebrations across the world have been changed due to the pandemic this year. 

Germany has been forced to cancel its famous Christmas markets, while in Kuwait, churches were closed until January 10.

In Belgium, residents are largely limited to welcoming a single visitor.

While in the Philippines some are choosing to spend the holidays alone because of the risk of catching the virus on public transport   

The Christmas Eve mass at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem will be closed to the public this year and broadcast online.

Only clergy and select individuals allowed inside the basilica, which was sterilised earlier Thursday ahead of the service. 

Headlines UK Liverpool London

Singapore and The Philippines are the latest countries to ban UK flights

Two more countries have banned incoming UK flights ahead of Christmas Eve after the identification of a new Covid strain in Britain.

Singapore will ban entry to UK travellers from Wednesday night. Health officials in the Philippines say they will also suspend flights from the UK from Christmas Eve, until December 31.

The rules for UK travel to Singapore and The Philippines 


Singapore will ban entry to UK travellers from 23.59pm Wednesday night. The ban will include anyone who has been in the UK in the previous 14 days and transit through the country.

Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents are still able to enter Singapore, but must undergo COVID-19 tests upon arrival in Singapore and at the end of their mandatory 14 day quarantine period. 

The Philippines

The Philippines has temporarily suspended flights from the UK to the Philippines starting at 12:01am on 24 December until 31 December 2020.

Passengers not arriving directly from the UK who have been in the UK within 14 days prior to arrival to the Philippines, including those just transiting through the Philippines, are prohibited from entering the country during this period. 

It brings the total number of countries restricting entry to UK travellers to 55.

The latest bans could also have a wider impact on British travellers, with Singapore a popular stop-off for those flying from the UK to Australia.

Singapore health officials say transit from the UK through the Southeast Asian city-state will not be allowed under the new travel ban.

The ministry of health website said: ‘All long-term pass holders and short-term visitors with recent travel history to the UK within the last 14 days will not be allowed entry into Singapore, or transit through Singapore.

‘This will also apply to all those who had obtained prior approval for entry into Singapore.’

Transit through the Philippines for UK travellers is also banned.

It comes after Greece and Cyprus both said they will require passengers from the UK to have three separate Covid tests to gain entry to stem the spread of a mutant strain of the virus – while all other EU member states have slammed their doors on Britain.

Both nations require evidence of a negative PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test prior to arrival, followed by a rapid lateral test after landing and then a third after a period of self-isolation.  

PCR tests need to be processed in a lab, while lateral flow tests can deliver results in 15 minutes but are less accurate. 

This is particularly the case when people administer the test themselves, as they often do not push the swab deep enough to get enough of a sample.

Singapore (pictured: Passengers at Jewel Changi airport in Singapore) will ban entry to UK travellers from Wednesday night. Health officials in the Philippines have also announced plans to suspend flights from the UK from Christmas Eve.

Greece and Cyprus are the only EU members not to have imposed blanket bans on UK travellers. 

Today the European Commission advised all other 25 states to lift their embargo on trains, planes and lorries from Britain to avoid further disruption. 

Tough new measures adopted by Greece and Cyprus  

Travellers from Britain will have to meet the following requirements to enter both countries. 


Evidence of a negative PCR test before arrival;

Rapid lateral flow test on arrival followed by 10 days of self-isolation; 

A second PCR test afterwards. 


Evidence of a negative PCR test before arrival;

PCR on arrival, followed by seven days in self-isolation; 

A second PCR test afterwards.     

However, as the Commission’s statement is only advisory, individual countries still have the option of continuing with their own blanket bans. 

European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders said: ‘Given the current uncertainties and in light of the precautionary principle, member states should take co-ordinated action to discourage non-essential travel between the UK and the EU.

‘At the same time, blanket travel bans should not prevent thousands of EU and UK citizens from returning to their homes.

‘While precautions are needed to contain the spread of the new coronavirus variant, with today’s recommendation, we therefore ensure that the restrictions are co-ordinated and provide for the necessary exemptions for citizens and residents returning home and other essential travellers.’

EU Transport Commissioner Adina Valean added: ‘Within the EU, it is crucial that transport workers are exempted from any restrictive measures, as quarantine and testing.’

Emanuel Macron was the first EU leader to ban travellers from the UK on Sunday, putting in place a 48-hour embargo on all travel. This included freight lorries at Dover, causing disruption to cross-Channel trade – including fresh food supplies. 

Other EU countries quickly halted UK flights, as data suggested the new variant could be 70% more infectious. Dozens of countries around the world followed Europe’s lead – but the US is allowing British visitors with a negative Covid test. 

People queue to enter the departures area at Heathrow Airport in chaotic scenes yesterday

People queue to enter the departures area at Heathrow Airport in chaotic scenes yesterday 

Which countries have banned flights from the UK?


All flights from UK banned – 

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden.

UK travellers allowed with a negative test – 

Cyprus, Greece – three negative tests required plus self-isolation. 

Still allowing own nationals to enter – 

Hungary, Portugal, Spain. 


All flights from UK banned –

Norway, Switzerland, Turkey,  


All flights from UK banned – 

Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Chile, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Iran, Jamaica, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Philippines and Singapore.

UK travellers allowed with a negative test – 

Liberia, US.   

The EU Commission announced the outcome of its talks early this afternoon, after countries including France and Germany had repeatedly called for a united approach across the whole bloc.

Countries closed their doors to Britain after Mr Johnson announced on Saturday that the new variant was up to 70 per cent more transmissible than the original strain as he put London and parts of the South East and East of England into a two-week Christmas lockdown, with nearly 18 million people in a new Tier 4.  

Dozens of nations outside Europe have also blocked flights from Britain, including Canada, Russia, India, Saudi Arabia and Argentina. 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock admitted the new variant coronavirus was ‘out of control’ and said the new restrictions may have to remain in place for months.

Concerns about the rapid spread of the disease were underlined with the publication of the latest official figures showing there had been a further 35,928 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK as of 9am on Sunday.

Millions of people have been forced to tear up their festive plans, with Mr Johnson effectively cancelling Christmas for those in Tier 4.    

The Europe-wide flight ban was evident at Heathrow’s Terminal Two where just two flights to the Continent had been listed on the departure board.

With more than 40 countries banning UK visitors over fears of the fast-spreading mutant strain of Covid 19 a morning and afternoon flight to the Portuguese capital Lisbon was the only European destination still open to travellers.

But even those flights were closed to UK tourists with only Portuguese nationals allowed on to board.

Passengers also had to present paperwork to show they had a negative Covid 19 test before they could check their bags.

The scenes of chaos with hundreds of people desperately trying to leave Heathrow before European countries closed their borders had given way to business as usual for staff.

Large queues of people trying to travel to the EU yesterday as travel bans came into force

Large queues of people trying to travel to the EU yesterday as travel bans came into force 

Passengers at London's Heathrow Airport attempted to make the last flight to Dublin last night before the Covid-19 travel ban

Passengers at London’s Heathrow Airport attempted to make the last flight to Dublin last night before the Covid-19 travel ban

PCR vs lateral flow Covid tests: Chaos as UK and France clash over type of testing used for truckers

The French government is demanding that any travellers from the UK, including truckers, take PCR tests before arriving in the country, which can take up to three days to return a result.


A PCR test can cost upwards of £180 per person, with the swab needing to be processed in a lab. 

The UK, on the other hand, favours faster tests which are not lab based and give a result within 15 minutes.

These rapid coronavirus tests, known as lateral flow tests, are ones that can be done on the spot using portable equipment.

They are faster and cheaper than lab-based PCR tests, which the government uses to diagnose people, but are less accurate. 


In a lateral flow test a swab is used to get a sample from the person’s nose or throat and it is then processed in a small machine that tries to detect the coronavirus by mixing the sample with something the virus would react with.

If there is a reaction in the mixture it suggests that the person is carrying coronavirus. If not, they get a negative result. This process can be completed in as little as 15 minutes.

You take your own swab though a professional on site processes it through the machine.  

However, as the swabs are often taken by people themselves, the accuracy of the test could be hampered as they may not push the swab deep enough to get enough of a sample. 

Results from trials have varied wildly and show the tests perform better when the swabs are done by trained medics and worse when people do them themselves. 


These lateral flow tests differ from the gold standard PCR test – known scientifically as polymerase chain reaction testing. 

PCR tests also use a swab but this is then processed using high-tech laboratory equipment to analyse the genetic sequence of the sample to see if any of it matches the genes of coronavirus.

This is a much more long-winded and expensive process, involving multiple types of trained staff, and the analysis process can take hours, with the whole process from swab to someone receiving their result taking days.

It is significantly more accurate, however. In ideal conditions the tests are almost 100 per cent accurate at spotting the virus, although this may be more like 70 per cent in the real world.

This compares to a much lower sensitivity in lateral flow tests, with a trial of one type used in Liverpool suggesting they miss around 50 per cent of the people who would test positive with PCR.


Extreme accuracy may be a drawback for PCR now that so many people have been infected, however, with the tests able to detect shreds of the virus in people who recovered weeks ago and are no longer infectious, which may lead them to have to self-isolate unnecessarily.

Lateral flow tests are more likely to miss people who are carrying the virus but, experts say, do have value as a way of weeding out people carrying large amounts of the virus and therefore most likely to be spreading the disease.

All airlines had contacted passengers to inform them their flights were cancelled and not to turn up at the airport.

The only queues were at the Emirates Airline check in desk with more than 300 people waiting patiently in line to fly to Dubai.

Many families were in the long line as airline staff checked passports and paperwork to prove they had undergone a nose and throat PCR swab test for Covid 19 and returned a negative result.     

Mother-of-two Alison Chambers was heading for a Christmas break with her two sons and husband.

She said: ‘I don’t mind how long I have to queue up, I’m just grateful that we can still get away. Fortunately, Dubai is still accepting tourists provided they have had a negative test. It is such a relief.’

Another passenger added:’ Given what is happening in this country I feel very luck to be leaving. ‘

The departure boards at Terminal Two told the story of the Europe wide flight ban with the words ‘cancelled’ or check with airline’ alongside destinations such as Nice, Paris and Zurich.

Virgin Atlantic, United Airlines and Delta were still operating transatlantic flights to the US.

Only US citizens and holders of a green card, or permanent residents, have been allowed to travel since the start of the Pandemic.

Despite the Governor of New York calling for all flights from the UK to be banned from landing at JFK airport Virgin operated their morning flight as usual.

Staff at the check in said passengers were not asked to present a negative Covid test, but a member of staff said:’ That is for now. It is changing all the time.’

US citizens returning the New York have to quarantine for 14 days on arrival.

Passengers on a Virgin flights to Los Angeles, Delta to Atlanta and a United flight to Washington DC were not required to have undergone a test before boarding.

Other airlines operating out of Terminal Two, such as Middle Eastern Airlines, required negative tests before passengers were allowed to check in and pass-through security.

At Terminal 5, the home of British Airways, all passengers on the two flights to New York’s JFK Airport had to have undergone a test to show they were not carrying the virus.

Those who had not previously had a test were able to book a short notice PCR swab test for £99.00. Results were delivered within 80 minutes.

A saliva test was also available as well as an antigen test to show if a passenger had previously had the virus and developed antibodies.

Passengers on other BA flights to the US, including Miami, Florida and Dallas in Texas were not required to have had any test.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo had demanded that flights from the UK be halted – but had his request rejected by the federal government.

British Airways and Delta voluntarily agreed that passengers on their flights would be tested prior to departure.

Virgin will insist on a test from Christmas Eve and the rule will apply to code share airline Delta.

The on-site test for BA passengers was being operated by a private firm called Collinson.

The company were also operating a test centre on the ground floor at Terminal Two where a small queue had formed by mid-morning.

Many of those waiting for an appointment were taking part in the recently launched ‘test to release’ scheme which allowed visitors to quarantine for only five days instead of the 14 days imposed by the Government.

A British Airways spokesman said:’ We have agreed to pre-departure testing for passengers on flights from the UK to New York from December 22nd in line with the request. We continue to work closely with local health authorities around the world.’  

The French government has pledged to 'resume movement' as soon as possible, with the Port of Dover saying inbound lorries are now coming into the UK

The French government has pledged to ‘resume movement’ as soon as possible, with the Port of Dover saying inbound lorries are now coming into the UK

After a pointless press conference on Monday evening, Boris Johnson is said to be drawing up plans to send extra testing capacity to the Port of Dover in a bid to end chaos brought about by France's travel ban

Emmanuel Macron is expected to announce his plan to end the travel ban later.

After a pointless press conference on Monday evening, Boris Johnson (pictured left) is said to be drawing up plans to send extra testing capacity to the Port of Dover in a bid to end chaos brought about by France’s travel ban. Emmanuel Macron (pictured right) is expected to announce his plan to end the travel ban later

Boris Johnson ‘is convinced Macron imposed ban to pile on pressure over Brexit’

Downing Street was ‘incandescent’ when France announced its UK travel ban on Sunday night and is convinced Emmanuel Macron is trying to use the crisis to force Britain to cave in during Brexit trade talks, it was claimed today.

Number 10 yesterday publicly dismissed suggestions that there may be a Brexit element to Mr Macron’s decision to ban all traffic and travellers from Britain because of the new mutant strain of coronavirus.

But privately officials and ministers are said to believe Mr Macron is at least in part motivated by a desire to pile the pressure on the UK as trade negotiations go down to the wire.

A transport industry source told The Times that officials in Number 10 were ‘incandescent’ when the ban was announced and that they were caught off guard because they thought it would only apply to passengers and not to freight as well.

Meanwhile, Kent has been turned into a giant car park today with up to 1,500 lorries now filling the motorway, side streets and laybys in Dover – as No10 sources accuse Paris of using the travel ban to strong-arm Brexit talks and trapped French drivers slam Emmanuel Macron for ‘abandoning them in a foreign country’.

France announced a travel ban on arrivals from the UK on Sunday night after the identification of a new Covid-19 strain in the south east of England. More than 1,500 lorries are now backed up in Kent, unable to make the crossing, leaving drivers spending a second night sleeping in their cabs.

Photos show 873 lorries parked at the disused Manston Airfield – which was previously reserved for a No Deal Brexit.

The 48 hour closure is due to end at 11pm UK time tonight but it has triggered a raft of similar moves with more than 40 countries banning flights from the UK.

The controversial ban has now come under fire with Boris Johnson said to be convinced French President Macron is using the crisis to force Britain to cave in during Brexit trade talks.

Though Downing Street publicly insists the port crisis is nothing to do with Brexit, officials and ministers are privately convinced Macron is in part motivated by a desire to pile the pressure on the UK as trade negotiations go down to the wire.

The French ban caught the UK government completely by surprise, it has been claimed, something Transport Minister Grant Shapps alluded to yesterday when he described the move as ‘slightly surprising’.  



Abu Dhabi update: Passengers from these countries don’t need to quarantine

Abu Dhabi Airports
Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: Passengers from select countries will not be required to undergo quarantine, according to a statement from Abu Dhabi Media Office.

As of December 22, 2020, citizens from ‘Green Countries’ that do no not have to quarantine upon arrival to Abu Dhabi include:

  1. Australia
  2. Brunei
  3. China
  4. Greece
  5. Greenland
  6. Hong Kong
  7. Malaysia
  8. Mauritius
  9. New Zealand
  10. Saudi Arabia
  11. Singapore
  12. Taiwan
  13. Tajikistan
  14. Thailand
  15. Uzbekistan
  16. Vietnam

“Travellers from green countries will be allowed into the emirate when they receive a negative test result, while travellers from other countries must self-isolate for 10 days. Country classifications will be reviewed every two weeks,” said the media office.

All other passengers will need to undertake a PCR test on the sixth day if they are staying six or more consecutive days, as well as on day 12 if they are staying for 12 or more consecutive days.

Travel Procedures

Before making any travel arrangements to Abu Dhabi, travellers are urged to carry out the following procedures:

  • Contact your airline for important travel information and familiarise yourself with the guidelines and regulations set by relevant authorities.
  • Ensure you meet entry visa requirements to visit the UAE.
  • If you are travelling with Etihad Airways, you’ll be covered by Etihad’s COVID-19 global wellness insurance cover. Cover is included with every Etihad Airways ticket for travel up to March 31, 2021.

Ahead of departure

Travellers to Abu Dhabi will be required to present a valid negative COVID-19 PCR test received within 96 hours prior to their scheduled departure.

Airport arrival

Upon entering the emirate, travellers will be given a PCR test at the airport and must wait for the negative result to be received. International travellers from countries on the green list will no longer be required to self-isolate upon receiving a negative result. Travellers from other countries will be required to self-isolate for 10 days only.

All travellers will need to take a PCR test on day six for those staying for six days or more, and on day 12 for those staying for 12 days or more.

Departure from Abu Dhabi

Ensure you are familiar with the travel and health requirements of the destination you are headed to.

Headlines UK London

More than 30 countries have limited flights with the UK due to a new strain of coronavirus

It has already been found in patients in Denmark, Australia, the Netherlands and Italy.

On December 20, the UK government tightened coronavirus restrictions in London and the southeast and east of England due to a new strain of coronavirus. According to medical experts, it spreads 70% faster than usual. Sky News reports that the new strain has already been identified in cases in Denmark, Australia, the Netherlands, South Africa and Italy. Countries have begun to restrict air traffic with the UK, writes the BBC.

The list of states that have closed borders for Great Britain is as follows:

France suspended any communication with the UK, including through the Eurotunnel, for 48 hours from midnight on December 20;

Germany stopped flights with the UK until December 31;

Italy closed flights with the UK until January 6, 2021;

Ireland suspended flights for at least 48 hours starting December 20;

Canada banned flights from the UK for 72 hours starting December 21;

Belgium suspended air and rail services from the UK for at least 24 hours starting December 20;

Netherlands banned all flights from the UK until January 1, 2021;

Turkey restricted air traffic with Great Britain, Denmark and the Netherlands until further notice;

Switzerland suspended flights with the UK and South Africa until further notice;

Bulgaria closed flights with the UK until January 31, 2021;

– government India decided to ban flights with the UK from 21 December to 31 December;

Denmark, Norway and Croatia banned flights from the UK for 48 hours starting December 21;

Austria restricted air traffic with Great Britain until further notice;

Lithuania Latvia and Estonia closed flights with the UK until January 31, 2021;

Saudi Arabia suspends air traffic with all countries for a week, starting from December 21;

Israel denied entry to foreign nationals arriving from the UK, Denmark and South Africa until further notice;

Spain announced that it would restrict flights if the EU does not come up with a common decision on the UK;

Portugal will accept only those arrivals from the UK who have local citizenship;

Salvador will not accept travelers. who have been in the UK for the past month;

Czech will isolate anyone who has been in the UK for at least 24 hours in transit;

Colombia, Morocco, Chile, Finland, Hong Kong and Argentina also banned flights from the UK;

Sweden will announce restrictive measures shortly.